DROP DOWN YE HEAVENS
Siglo de Oro’s first commercial recording sees the choir and its director Patrick Allies in collaboration with saxophonist Sam Corkin. Their intriguing programme highlights the saxophone’s natural kinship with the human voice, as well as the endless expressive possibilities which this versatile instrument stimulates in the imaginations of modern composers. Its athletic vigour launches Will Todd’s O Wisdom, the first of eight settings of the Advent antiphons in English which, having been commissioned by the present artists, now form the backbone of this recording. Elsewhere the instrument soars above the voices’ urgent prophecy and imploration, while the choir is heard unaccompanied in glowing renditions of sixteenth-century polyphony – works by Pierre Certon, Antoine de Mornable, Michael Praetorius and Josquin des Prez, whose music complements the atmosphere of quiet expectancy proper to Advent.
Siglo de Oro (Patrick Allies, director), Sam Corkin, saxophones
Recorded January 2016, released October 2016
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‘That’s the very reason I find Siglo de Oro so invigorating. Professional London start-ups can sound frustratingly generic but this one hits you with its character and depth, and with an approach to blend that doesn’t want to paper over the music’s joins but instead uses voices of similar weight and vibrato to ensure we hear the grind of the parts while never being in any doubt that the ensemble is a single unit.’
‘Siglo de Oro is a choir founded by London-based students, and this is its first recording. It’s a debut with a difference… a novel, ungimmicky project, vividly executed.’
BBC Music Magazine
**** (Christmas Choice)
‘[the disc] takes its title from Judith Weir’s Drop Down Ye Heavens, an immediately captivating opening number… The different ways in which the contemporary composers integrate the vocal sound of the saxophone is intriguing; the singing’s first class. An impressive and adventurous debut from the ensemble.’
BBC Radio 3 Record Review
‘This is a most impressive disc. All the new pieces are imaginative and command the listener’s attention. The performances are splendid. Siglo de Oro is a fairly small, mixed-voice ensemble. They seem to me to be equally accomplished in old and new music and the blend and sound of the group is superb…This is highly original and superbly performed. Siglo de Oro have made a most auspicious debut on disc; I look forward keenly to hearing them again.’
Music Web International
‘Another a cappella group, Siglo de Oro, director Patrick Allies, takes a rather interesting route… The result is an impressive debut disc, with fine singing indeed from the twelve to fourteen strong group, and a lovely range of stunning textures in the works with saxophone. Definitely a hit for those looking for something seasonal and imaginative but not traditional.’
‘This is Siglo de Oro’s first commercial recording, and it is a smash hit on all counts. The singing is beautifully shaped in both the renaissance and the contemporary repertoire… Patrick Allies’ direction is precisely detailed and cohesive and yet the choir is always given free reign to express itself with joy and freedom.’
Music and Vision